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Consider office hygiene this winter

Posted on: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Winter is yet to arrive in earnest in the UK but the temperatures have started to drop noticeably in the last few weeks.

The nights are drawing in, the heating is switched on at home and at work and plans for Christmas are starting to be made.

But something else that often comes at this time of year is illness, as winter bugs can thrive in lower temperatures and are able to floor just about anyone if they're unlucky enough.

This can be a big problem for employers, as the busy Christmas period is the last time they would pick to have key members of staff off sick.

So what steps can they take to reduce the chances of workers falling ill?

Focusing on office cleaning could be one good approach, as germs can easily build up on desks, telephones and computer equipment.

Keeping workspaces well ventilated might also be crucial on those cold winter days.

Professor Anthony Hilton, head of biological and biomedical science at Aston University, commented: "Windows tend to be closed, so airborne viruses such as the common cold are more likely to persist and circulate in poorly ventilated indoor air."

Speaking to the Metro, he noted that people typically spend more time indoors during the winter months. This, he said, means "the likelihood of an infectious agent finding a susceptible host is increased".

Professor Hilton added that when people are tired and run down throughout the winter, people's immune systems are not as good at "fighting off potential invaders" as they would be otherwise.

"Consequently, we're more likely to be susceptible to infection," he said.

So employers could certainly benefit from doing everything they can to make sure their premises remain clean and hygienic this winter.

It will certainly reap rewards if it makes members of staff healthier, more productive and able to work over the next few months, so businesses can negotiate the Christmas period effectively and profitably and with minimal disruption.